Switching From Ozempic to Mounjaro: What You Need to Know

While considerations like efficacy and tolerability are crucial in deciding between medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro, personalized discussions with healthcare providers remain essential for informed decision-making.


  • Monday, April 15, 2024

Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is a medication developed by Eli Lilly and was initially approved for medical use in the United States in May 2022. It gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Similar to other popular medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus, Mounjaro functions by mimicking GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) hormone receptors in the gut, which are responsible for inducing feelings of fullness. However, unlike these medications, Mounjaro is a dual-acting medication as it also activates GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) receptors.

Ozempic, as mentioned earlier, was also FDA-approved as an adjunct to diet and exercise for improving blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes, albeit nearly 5 years prior. While Ozempic doesn't possess the dual-acting mechanism of Mounjaro, it does mimic the GLP-1 hormone.

What Makes Them Different?

Although both Ozempic and Mounjaro operate as GLP-1 receptor agonists, they vary in their chemical composition and mechanism of action. Mounjaro contains tirzepatide, while Ozempic utilizes semaglutide. Without delving deeply into scientific terminology, let's briefly examine research findings, particularly focusing on the average weight loss associated with each medication.

Research Insights

Two sets of research studies are relevant: the SURMOUNT trials, funded by Eli Lilly for Mounjaro's approval, and the STEP trials, funded by Eli Lilly for Ozempic's approval. Currently, two SURMOUNT trials have yielded results, available in more detail here. SURMOUNT 1, involving non-diabetic individuals, showed an average weight loss of 20.9% at the highest dose over 72 weeks of treatment, while SURMOUNT 2, focusing on diabetic individuals, demonstrated a 14.7% average weight loss at the highest dose over the same treatment period. There are eight published STEP trials, showcasing weight losses ranging from 9.6% to 17.4% on average. The STEP trials can be explored in more detail here. According to current research, individuals on tirzepatide tend to lose slightly more weight than those on semaglutide, though the difference is marginal.

Can I Switch Between Them?

Assuming no exceptions due to individual medical history, it is indeed possible to switch from Ozempic to Mounjaro or vice versa. Many of the medical conditions that would disqualify a patient from one medication also apply to the other. It's plausible but improbable for an individual to medically qualify for one but not the other. Both medications were developed to address the same condition, diabetes, and have demonstrated effectiveness in managing weight. The relationship between Zepbound and Wegovy is the same as Ozempic and Mounjaro.

Should I Consider Switching?

The first step in addressing this question is to have a discussion with your healthcare provider. You'll review crucial information such as current medications that could interact with Ozempic or Mounjaro, any concerns regarding side effects, progress in weight loss, and more. If you meet the medical criteria, the decision largely hinges on personal preference. Factors like concerns about potential side effects or satisfaction with current weight loss progress may indicate a need for switching medications.

At MD Exam, we frequently witness individuals transitioning to tirzepatide because they aspire to achieve further weight loss or have reached a plateau on semaglutide. While clinical trials of tirzepatide have shown a slightly inferior tolerability profile, gradual dosage adjustments and lifestyle modifications have proven helpful. Ultimately, the decision rests upon the dialogue with your healthcare provider, or with us!

Which Medication is Suitable for Me?

When deciding between Ozempic and Mounjaro, factors such as cost and individual tolerance often play pivotal roles. At MD Exam, patients typically commence treatment with semaglutide and later switch to tirzepatide for more aggressive weight loss. Our observations align with research, indicating that semaglutide tends to elicit fewer and milder side effects, coupled with moderate weight loss and lower expenses. Before initiating treatment with either semaglutide or tirzepatide for weight loss, it's imperative to seek guidance from a healthcare professional, such as the medical team at MD Exam. Through a comprehensive questionnaire and a review of your medical history, we'll tailor a personalized weight loss plan to suit your needs. While both medications have demonstrated effectiveness, individual responses may vary slightly.

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